The office of the electoral commission is one of the public offices in Ghana that has come under intense scrutiny and questioning with most persons affiliating the head occupant of the commission to the New Patriotic Party. It all began last year when the outfit of the Electoral Commission (EC) announced that it was going to compile a new voters’ register because the one in use is not credible.
The decision raised suspicion among most Ghanaians as the same register was used for the 2016 presidential and parliamentary election, for a referendum on creating the six new regions, and also to conduct the Ayawaso Bye-elections. Opposers of this new decision did not relent on making their decisions public by stating it emphatically in radio and television interviews, writing it on their various social media platforms and staging peaceful demonstrations to register their disappointments in the decision of the Electoral commissioner to compile a new voters’ register.
The decision of the EC has attracted lawsuits with more people and institutions threatening to sue them for to prevent the new voter registration exercise. While the EC has been provided with millions of Ghana Cedis to prepare a new voter registration, the junk of the money may end up in the pockets of lawyers who will help the EC fight the cases in court. The institution may have to be cushioned with more money if the lawsuits continue.
Let us take a look at some of the lawsuits the Electoral Commission is facing right now.
The NDC vs. The Attorney General and The Electoral Commission
After a series of protests and regional demonstrations, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) decided to pick on the EC at the Supreme court. The party filed a case at the Supreme court against Ghana’s attorney general and the electoral commission challenging the decision of the commission to first compile a new voters’ register, as the party on the basis of Article 45(a) of the 1992 Constitution, that accordingly, the 2nd Defendant which in this case is the Electoral Commission can only revise the existing register of voters and lacks the power to prepare a fresh register of voters, for the conduct of the December 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections. Anything aside from this, the party describes as unconstitutional.
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Secondly, in the same suit, the party challenged the decision of the Electoral Commission to exclude an existing voter ID as a form of identification for the exercise. However, the party had to drop its case challenging the decision of the EC to compile a new voters’ register and go for why the EC should not exempt the existing voter’s ID and birth certificate from the registration exercise. This was mainly because the Supreme Court made it clear to the party that, per the rules of court, a party cannot be seeking relief and also asked to be granted another relief in the alternative.
Mark Takyi- Benson vs. The Attorney General and The Electoral Commission
It seems the decision to compile the new voters’ register has made the EC know no peace as a citizen Mr. Mark Takyi- Benson had also taking on the EC to contest her decision of compiling an entirely new register, from his suit, this was what he was praying the electoral commission for:
“I) a declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 45 (a) of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, the Electoral Commission’s constitutional and statutory mandate to compile the register of voters for the conduct and supervision of all public elections and referenda is spent saving only the power reserved in the Commission to revise and expand the register of voters at such periods as may be determined by law.
ii). A declaration that the Electoral Commission’s decision to compile a new register of voters is inconsistent with and a violation of article
45(a) of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
iii). A declaration that Regulation I (3) of the Public Elections (Registration of Voters) (Amendment) Regulations,2020 (C.I. 126) is inconsistent with and violates the provisions of article 42 and 45(e) of the 1992 Constitution to the extent that it excludes Birth Certificates issued to Ghanaians as a mode of identification and/or establishing qualification to be registered in the register of voters.
iv). A declaration that Regulation I (3) of the Public Elections (Registration of Voters) (Amendment) Regulations,2020 (C.I. 126) is inconsistent with and violates the provisions of article 42 and 45(e) of the 1992 Constitution to the extent that it excludes the existing Voter Card Identification Card as a mode of identification and/or establishing qualification to be registered in the register of voters.”
As we are spending a significant amount of money to build a new Voter Register and also spend some on the lawsuits for the EC, do you think we are spending too much to choose between Nana Addo and John Mahama? Leave your views in the comment box below.
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